IRAQI-BORN ISLAMIST CLERIC ON TRIAL IN NORWAY FOR TERRORISM

Washington Times on February 15, 2012, published an AP report that an Iraqi-born cleric pleaded not guilty in a Norwegian court Wednesday to charges of making death threats against politicians and encouraging suicide bombings. Excerpts below:

Prosecutors said Mullah Krekar, a 55-year-old Islamist who came to Norway as a refugee in 1991, faces several years in prison if found guilty.

Since his arrival, Mr. Krekar has made frequent trips to Iraq, where he founded the Kurdish Ansar al-Islam, listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and other nations. It is suspected of organizing suicide bombings against coalition forces in Iraq.

In 2005, a Norwegian court declared him a national security threat and ordered him deported, but it later postponed the move because of concerns he could face execution or torture in Iraq.

Prosecutor Marit Bakkevig told the court on the 15th that Mr. Krekar had violated Norwegian terror laws by making threats that “were meant to cause fear in society” and force officials to halt the deportation order.

“The statements appear as persistent threats,” she said.

Two years ago, Mr. Krekar told foreign reporters in Oslo that if he were deported to Iraq and killed, Norwegian officials would “pay with their lives,” according to a transcript included in the indictment presented in court.

Charges also include comments Mr. Krekar made on the NBC news program “The Wanted” in 2009. He said America deserved the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, and he condoned suicide bombings against Americans in Iraq. He also is charged with making death threats on various websites against others.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

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